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So far all good. Alex, Karl, Fabrizio and myself met at the airport on the 7th of July 2017. Matt was already in Thailand and Claire an Chiara traveled directly from Egypt to Bangkok. Booking in was quick with no problems with tubes for sails or baggage. We had an uneventful flight and fortunately did not miss the connecting flight( 30 min from landing to finish boarding next flight).
In Bangkok we were met by a friendly representative from Championship organizers, who barely speak English. By the time we bought sim cards(12 gig for a 1050 baht) Fabrizio was insisting that they speak English to him. With them clearly not understanding his own version of English.
That sorted, we were off to the Heritage Hotel, a 2 hour drive in a very quiet taxi. By that time we were in the air for 18 hours. We left Cape Town at 20h00 and arrived in Bangkok at 20h00.
The Taxi that met us was a Quantum Toyota with a lot of bling. Headrests were covered with white custom fitted crocheted “lappies”. Wood paneling and an air-con that could be used as a freezer. Needed in this hot and humid weather, not surprisingly Thailand weather is described by three adjectives, hot, cool and rainy. The drive was smooth until we entered Pattaya where the driver had to confront a lot of suicidal motorcyclists with a clear belief in reincarnation.
At the hotel we were met by a very relieved Claire who had to cope with a few medical challenges and Chiara who only had eyes for “papi” and papi who was clearly happy to see his ” mi amour”.
Well, the kids had a rest and the next day boats were issued and rigged and all went for training. Claire seems to be satisfied and I note that the “old hands” met up with old friends. The sailing community is a really small community.
On Monday everybody prepared for measurement which took place at 13.00 and was dealt with very efficiently, sails and life jackets were approved and initialed and off they went for another session of sailing.
On Tuesday we woke up after a night of rain and thunderstorms to more rain and thunderstorms, by 14.00 it cleared and off the sailors went leaving myself, Gavin and Fabrizio sampling the local Tigers and eventually solving the worlds political issues.
The children so far seem happy and hopefully they make a lot of new friends. The tension is starting to show, but as a team, they get along very well and that is always a good sign. They are challenged by local conditions and sailing is a 30 minute tow by RIB away. Wind has been light so far. Currents on the start line will be the real challenge.
We see a lot of different sails, Optimax, North Sails and then the is the “1” sail a new sail designed by the coach of Malta and Austria. According to the German coach a good sail for the heavier sailor and easier to trim. To trim the J-Sail is apparently a challenge, obviously the sailor also makes a difference.
So far the kids are focused on sailing. I stay within walking distance from the venue and have been fortunate to see a lot of mobile shops selling clothes, sushi, schwarma and best of all a motorcycle with a side- car braai. That is any Saffas dream come true. There are a lot of 7/11 shops as well with ATM’s. There is an administrative fee added of 220 baht on the amount withdrawn. Better to withdraw a large amount, once. Credit cards are not used widely and if you purchase by visa there is a good chance of receiving a gift, but beware, the system does not require your pin and anybody with card details can process a transaction. Use cash.
From a technical side we are learning and stealing with the eyes. See the Germans have two rings, one closer to the boom and one not. Light wind and high wind positions. Fabrizio is writing it down and will share. Heavier sailors sometimes sail with Mark iv or Mark iv mast and boom and black gold spar.
According to tide chart we will have current pushing boat away and on second race current will push it into starting line, many sailors find this difficult and we hope for edge and that Langebaan training pays off.
The technical observations from Fabrizio and the novice comments from me. Some photos we post (on WhatsApp) relate to sailing and some not, but then sailing is also about fun, knowledge of local conditions( boys and girls), etc
Please forward to rest of group.